“Turkey’s President Accuses Advocates of Birth Control of Being Traitors”
The New York Times, December 23, 2014, p.A8
“He has called women unequal to men. He has demanded that some high school students learn an Ottoman-era script scrapped nearly a century ago. Now, he has described birth control as treasonous. In his campaign to buttress what he sees as Turkey’s rightful place in the world, the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has offended many who view his assertions as sexist, paranoid or outdated. The latest came on Sunday, when Mr. Erdogan upstaged a wedding couple with a speech in which he described birth control as a threat to the country’s lineage. As a witness to the newlyweds, the president urged them to have at least three children, and blamed contraception advocates for hindering the country’s growth. ‘For years they committed a treason of birth control in this country, seeking to dry up our bloodline,’ he said in a speech during the wedding ceremony. ‘Lineage is very important, both economically and spiritually.’ … Over the course of his 11 years as the dominant leader of Turkey, he has expressed strong opposition toward abortion and contraception, and has called on women to have at least three children, but preferably four or five. But until now he had not equated birth control with an act of treason. … Mr. Erdogan’s critics say that the president sometimes resorts to inflammatory comments about women to divert attention from pressing issues in the political agenda.”
Quickie Analysis: With things bad at home and worse abroad, Mr. Erdogan seems to have made a decision to retreat to his conservative political base, which doesn’t increase his likability.